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Specials' bassist Horace Panter strikes chord for art

Show of paintings opens in Penny Lane

Written by . Published on March 2nd 2012.

Specials' bassist Horace Panter strikes chord for art

THE devil makes work for idle hands, and increasingly, in the case of pop musicians, so does the paintbrush.

Horace Panter, aka Sir Horace Gentleman, bassist with one of the best bands ever to emerge from Britain, The Specials, is the latest name to add to the list, having recently presented his first solo exhibition, to great acclaim, at The Strand Gallery in London.

Liverpool Confidential ran into him last night in the Hope Street Hotel, chilling after launching the show, Robots, Saints And (Extra)Ordinary People, at the quite new Penny Lane Gallery.

And his works are anything but two-tone.

In his vibrant paintings, Panter told us he’s attempting to create his own unique form of iconography.

New_Stalingrad_MadonnaNew Stalingrad Madonna

Hang on, icon/iconic is a banned word for us - unless it’s being used correctly or unless we’re writing about it being banned.

Horace explained, and happily, in this instance, it is being used entirely correctly.  He is fascinated with orthodox icons, seeing them as art with a purpose: “You want your crops to grow to pray to an image….that’s purposeful," he said.

Panter graduated in 1975 with a BA in Fine Art from Coventry’s Lanchester Polytechnic.  Although the majority of his career has been defined by his involvement in music, art has always been a key focus in his life. 

Robotatthebeach_1Robot at the BeachHis works are highly stylised, colourful, ultra-modern images.  On the one hand, you can expect to see the classically-drawn robots of 1950s science-fiction juxtaposed with a naïve painterly style reminiscent of Henri Rousseau, on the other, a combination of painting and collage which express his life-long love of blues music.

The subjects of his paintings, often lone figures against stark backgrounds, beg the question ‘who and what is important enough to take centre-stage, to be idolised’?

Perhaps this is a comment on his own experience as “an ordinary chap” (his words) taking the stage in front of thousands of fans. It’s as if he has translated what must surely be a surreal experience into his paintings.

In the tradition of Pop Art, the artist himself has been ‘elevated from the mundane’.

Robots, Saints And (Extra)Ordinary People, Penny Lane Gallery, 38 Penny Lane, Liverpool 18, opens this weekend  and continues until March 31,  from 11am, free entry, but you can buy the art if you like.

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AnonymousMarch 2nd 2012.

Don't forget Bob Dylan in that furniture shop in Liverpool One

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